5 Best Practices of Marketing + Sales Alignment for Account-Based Marketing
According to the survey on ‘Sales and Marketing Sentiment’ by CallidusCloud, about 84 percent of companies have their marketing and sales teams not synchronized. Lack of coordination hinders B2B marketers and sales professionals in accessing insights from both teams and they cannot measure their performance, contribution in closing of a deal, and overall success of the company. Often the misalignment between these two teams cause these teams to blame each other when the company fails to meet sales target of conversion. If you are trying to build an account-based marketing campaign, you need to draw these two teams closer to win accounts and stakeholders in your target company’s marketing and sales teams. Why?
Misalignment of sales and marketing teams would incur B2B businesses to lose at least 10% revenues every year.
On the other hand, businesses who achieve successful alignment of marketing and sales teams have witnesses around 20% revenue growth in a year.
Aligned sales team can avoid loss of efforts and time on unqualified leads.
Sales teams with insights collected from marketing teams can achieve higher deal velocity and conversion rates.
Marketing teams source data from sales teams to seek customers’ feedback and find out their expectations and needs.
Marketing teams when aligned with sales teams can make direct contribution in revenue goals.
Aligned account-based marketing approaches help a great deal in identifying major decision makers or stakeholders in marketing, sales, finance, and operations teams. How does marketing and sales alignment work in boosting revenue growth?
1. Define mutually agreed and understood terms
As per the survey findings by CSO Insights, around 44% of B2B enterprises have their marketing and sales teams understanding of what qualified leads are. Common notions and understanding of what qualified leads means to both sales and marketing teams are necessary to set the ABM strategies into the motion. That’s why the first step of establishing alignment between marketing and sales teams is to remove the discord between them and get sales and marketing to define what qualified leads mean and the metrics to determine qualified leads.
Here we have explained how marketing and sales teams define qualified leads as the first step to build alignment between the teams.
How do marketing teams define qualified leads? Marketing teams using Marketo use various metrics to determine the quality of the lead before passing it to the sales team. Metrics and scoring involved in the qualifying process is MQL, which combines ‘fit score’ that defines if the lead fits to their ideal target company, ‘engagement score’ which measures the level of engagement through content with the company, and ‘buying intent’ that measures purchase indicators of the company. These three metrics help determine the quality of leads and if they are qualified enough to pass to the sales team.
How do sales teams define qualified leads? Marketing teams share MQLs to the sales teams or departments, and sales representatives or sales development reps (SDR). This is done to define which sales reps should be assigned which target accounts in order to close the deal successfully. In general, any qualified lead is considered as a potential lead because that has higher chances of getting converted.
2. Selection of right, high-value accounts
Once the marketing and sales teams have been on the path of starting with the account-based marketing, you need to bring together your marketing and sales departments or teams to discuss how to select the right accounts. There are various technologies and tools account-based marketing platforms offer that marketers can use in selecting the right accounts. Then, you need to focus on the target accounts that sales teams are already working or dealing with – get insights and information on target accounts, stakeholders and key decision makers of the accounts from the sales teams that they have collected so far. Focus on the accounts that they are already dealing with and start your account-based marketing campaigns with those accounts first. Both sales and marketing teams need to engage in regular communications and stay aligned to discuss their objectives.
In the account selection process, marketers can use software that is tied to marketing automation techniques as these softwares monitor, measure and provide behavioral data, history of interactions of targeted accounts and other important data that help marketing and sales teams identify the right accounts that fit the criteria. ABM platforms with marketing automation technologies enables reaching out to selected account companies and decision-makers through automated, scheduled and timely communications with the right content.
3. Pick the right channels and content to engage
After selection of accounts and accessing insights on target accounts and their decision-makers, you need to choose the right channels they most engage in and the type of content they interact and use. Next, marketers need to send personalized messages to key people involved in closing the deal. That is why you need to target them through channels they are most active in, from email, direct mails, blogs, online forums, discussion boards, social media channels, to news sites and other channels. Many account-based marketing platforms, such as Marketo, provide insights on decision makers’ online activities and their interactions with previous communications, what they want from similar products and how they correspond with the products and brands.
Create a series of infographics, visuals and memes, blogs, quizzes and contests and present latest market stats to incorporate in your account-based marketing campaigns and circulate those in various channels where your target people are active. By educating and nurturing prospects with such creative messages, you can figure out their interests and preferences. You can also optimize personal messages with the insights and data collected from sales teams that are already dealing with the account.
4. Begin Active Outreach
By circulating the campaign messages to the prospects at the right time, your marketing teams have paved the way for sales teams to start their actions to improve their outreach. After your marketing professionals have spread the coverage and made prospects aware of your products and brand, they will feel familiar to respond and interact with your sales team’s calls, messages, and emails. Thus, effective account-based marketing and sales team alignment can significantly increase the effectiveness of both marketing and sales campaigns, boosting confidence of both the sales and marketing reps to close the deal successfully.
5. Monitor, measure & customize
We all know that no marketing campaigns solely can crack the nut without comprehensive, real-time insights and analytics that keep optimizing the campaigns according to responses. That’s why it is immensely important to keep track of the effectiveness and the performance of the account-based marketing campaigns to stay creative, relevant and personalized to your buyers’ and prospects’ growing interests. Most ABM platforms like Marketo allow tailoring campaigns to real-time analytics and data so that marketers and sales reps can modify sales pitches and marketing communications to make them relate to their needs and preferences perfectly.
Thus, your ABM strategies should keep your marketing and sales teams in sync in approaching their target accounts, their goals and challenges, their personas, in circulating messages through right channels. Both teams should minimize conflicts and practice transparency to be able to share their data, plans, changing strategies and approaches, as well as occasional failures through the buying cycle to keep each other informed of what works and what does not.